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Posts Tagged ‘Church Unique’

mancini_church_unique_3Summary: Church Unique by Will Mancini is a comprehensive book on creating a mission oriented church that clearly understands where it is going and how it is creating a unique impression that only it can offer.  Mancini has crafted a process for looking deep into the nuts and bolts of mission, vision, values and communication and making that real in the church.

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In a world of cookie cutter models of church that invite us to follow the next guy, just because it’s working over there, Church Unique offers a process for church leaders that carries them through a unique path to creating God’s unique expression for each church.  For this reason alone, every church pastor should pick up and read this book.  It is a clarion call to discover the harder path that allow each church to resonate in a distinct way.

The book is broken up into four sections that all deal with vision: Recasting Vision, Clarifying Vision, Articulating Vision, and Advancing Vision.  Each section offers a detailed understanding of Mancini’s process for creating this unique expression.  My favorite section was Mancini’s concept of “Thinkholes”.  This section alone was worth the price of the book (my copy was a gift by Auxano but I wanted to read it).

Mancini offers a quote that resonated with me for days and one of the central reasons for discovering the Unique DNA of each church.  He says,

“The dramatic irony is that what happens at the conference is the exact opposite of what propelled the host church to be effective in the first place.  Each of these leaders endured a process of self-understanding and original thinking that helped in articulating a stunningly unique model of ministry.”

That is brilliant my friends.  It is essentially the trial and error process, hard work, and resolve around a unique expression imparted by God that makes churches grow.  And those leaders/pastors willing to take that risk usually end up on the stage.

The rest of the book identifies Auxano’s process for helping churches discover their own Unique expression.  These include: Discovering your kingdom concept, Developing your vision frame, and delivering your vision daily.

Mancini’s process is dense and would obviously benefit from Auxano’s help through the process.  I have a background in marketing, communications and business in Silicon Valley and I found I had to set the book down at times to chew on what was said.

There will be those who would easily bash the book for it’s emphasis on the business structure it proposes.  But I would suggest that any church needs to understand it’s own unique expression, the vision and mission it wishes to follow and how to communicate that effectively.  Mancini offers a “unique” process for discovering that.

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chaos1

I’m reading Will Mancini’s book Church Unique and he has a very interesting history on the transition from church growth movement to a more missional movement.  Very interesting stuff so far.

But his comments got me thinking.  The former’s intent, which is based in a modern approach, was bent towards “getting people converted and into heaven.”  It was simple, concrete, straightforward, and could be broken down into steps.  These steps eventually became the basis of a very defined “sinner’s prayer”.  The specific contents of that prayer may have varied in different circles but the intent was the same.  The focus was on a specific moment of belief.  It focused on attracting people in and leading them to one specific action.  The rest of the spiritual formation process leading to maturity unfortunately became secondary and to a large extent got lost in the last fifteen to twenty years.

The missional approach has a much different intent. It’s focused on engaging the Missio Dei and is geared toward restoration and reconciliation. It’s not simple, or concrete, nor straightforward.  It’s chaotic, squishy, oriented towards relationship, engaged in the practice of following Jesus, and is both inward and outward in its activity.  It’s specific “act” is following Jesus, which can be defined but not in the same way as the sinner’s prayer.  Instead it focuses on constant activity that is restorative, engaged in the world, surrounded by community, and focuses on love and trust.

This shift into the chaotic and uncontrolled is hard for people.  The large shift towards missional is interesting for people.  They know they want it but they don’t know yet “how” to engage it.  The parameters have yet to be set and people are still trying to figure it out.  And yet to engage the chaos is to encounter peace that surpasses the chaos.  It just takes a little while to get there.

As a side note, what is interesting to me, in reading some of Generation We, the current millenials were raised in this chaos.  They are used to it as a way of life.  And this is creating an awkward transition.

Where do you find yourself in the transition?

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